Last night I celebrated the passing of the old year by going to bed early with a big cookie in my cozy palace in the snowy Boreal forest. When Elizabeth walked me out she pointed out how nicely she had shovelled my pathway and built a little snow ramp up to the bridge using the freshly fallen snow (more for her convenience than mine, I assure you!). Once into the forest on the other side of the bridge the path is packed with just our paws. The ground is too uneven to make for good shovelling. Maybe, if we ever get enough snow for Elizabeth to put her nifty webbed paw extenders on we can make a better path.
It was -30C with the windchill when I went to bed. When it gets that cold, I like to stay in my house until it’s time to go for my morning walk. My house is well insulated, and I have a full-sized bed that covers half the floor, and my big, fuzzy Queen-sized blanket, which Elizabeth tidies up for me every morning so it’s ready to cuddle up in at night. When the temperature rises into the high teens, I like to pull my blanket outside and sleep under the stars. That also allows me to better keep an ear open for the sneaky deer, the rascally fox and the wily wolves. The flying squirrels make a bit of noise in the trees around me, but they’re pretty harmless. Everybody else is usually asleep.
Last night was a bit different, though. Even through the walls of my palace I could hear strange banging and popping noises interspersed with whistles and fizzles. The sounds were coming from some distance through the frigid air – sounds are always louder, I’ve noticed, when the air is really cold. I don’t like these sorts of noises much. They make me a bit nervous because they aren’t natural sounds. Sometimes I hear them over at the neighbours’ in the summertime, and the first time I did, I also noticed that they were accompanied by explosions of glittering light in the sky. Everyone knows that bright lights in the sky are dangers that no-one can chase away. The best thing to do when you see those is to run into the shelter of your den and wait out the firestorm. So, I stayed put in my house last night.
In the morning, Elizabeth comes out from the two-legger house and I meet her at the gate. In the summer she has managed to catch me off guard; she can walk pretty quietly, and if I’m in my palatial den, I might not hear her coming. I think she gets a wag out of catching me snoozing like that. Well, she would if she had a tail… In the winter, though, I can hear her a mile away because her paws make a great crunching noise on the packed snow of the path.
Sometimes we go for a walk together, but when it’s really cold, Elizabeth doesn’t like to go for a walk. On those days, she lets me attend directly to my patrol of the estate. I get a good run in, checking out all the usual haunts of all the usual intruders. Once I have cleared the area of all the undesirables, I run back home for breakfast at the two-leggers’ house.
Unlike my two-leggers, I just love the snowy cold weather months. There’s nothing better than lying in a snowbank on one of my ‘mountains’ as I watch over my territory. I could stay out on patrol all winter long without ever coming indoors. They only thing I don’t like about winter are the iceballs that form between my toes. They’re such a nuisance! The worst of it is that I must stop to remove them or my feet begin to bleed. So far I’ve been fortunate enough that iceball removal hasn’t coincided with wily wolf arrival. I have bad dreams about that happening….